How to spot freshmen on campus as the fall semester begins

sproul_maryZheng_file
Mary Zheng/File

With the start of a new academic year comes new students, both freshmen and transfer students alike. While it’s refreshing to see new faces on campus, we’d be lying if we said freshmen didn’t stick out like a sore thumb during their first semester. Here are a few ways to spot freshmen on campus so you can lend a helping hand or laugh at their awkwardness.

They walk around looking confused

You can often spot a freshmen if you see someone glancing around campus or the city of Berkeley itself with a confused look on their face. Whether it’s looking for a seat in the library or trying to decide which door to use at Top Dog, confusion is a constant state of being for freshmen. Don’t worry, we all went through it too, but it doesn’t make freshman confusion any less amusing in the eyes of upperclassmen.

Their parents are with them

While some parents leave after their child moves in, some will stick around for a few days to help get their child acclimated to campus life. You might see these freshmen and their parents looking for classes, shopping at Walgreens or eating at restaurants that most college students can’t afford until their folks come into town. However, you can’t really get familiar with college life until your parents leave, so having them around is a dead giveaway that you’re a freshman.

They’re excited to go to class

While the thought of going to class induces sighs and eye rolls from most UC Berkeley students, freshman arrive on campus with puppy-dog eyes and excitement in their voices about the classes they are planning to take. Even if they didn’t get any of the classes they wanted during enrollment, freshmen somehow convince themselves that they will love every single class they will take in college. Honestly, we’re a little jealous of their optimism, but we all know that will end pretty quickly.

They walk through the middle of Sproul Plaza

While being flyered in Upper Sproul is essential to the UC Berkeley experience, we’d be lying if we said we didn’t try to avoid the clubs and organizations that perpetually pass out flyers and pamphlets. Freshmen, however, walk straight through Sproul Plaza, unaware of how many flyers they’ll be handed during the next 30 seconds. If you’re a part of a club or organization, get your flyers ready for all the freshmen before they learn to start walking behind your booth to avoid you!

They’re constantly wearing UC Berkeley gear

Sweatshirts, workout shorts, phone wallets — the list of gear that freshmen will wear or use on campus is endless. These new students are proud to attend UC Berkeley and aren’t afraid to show it. Freshmen, listen closely — you don’t need to prove yourself anymore by wearing a blue-and-gold lanyard 24/7. Leave the school spirit to one article of clothing per outfit and you’ll thank us later. Don’t worry though, your UC Berkeley socks are totally appropriate for game days!

We hope that all of this year’s freshmen enjoy themselves before reality sets in. If you see a freshman on campus, we encourage you to laugh and reminisce on your own freshman year — after you give them directions to their next lecture, of course.

Contact Erin Haar at [email protected].